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Sides Matter

Amazingly, man does not live on barbecue alone.

June 13, 1996

PEACH BARBECUE SAUCE

1/2 cup apple butter

6 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/2 cup peach or apricot preserves

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

Puree apple butter, vinegar and preserves in food mill or process in food processor, then strain. Add horseradish and cayenne. Serve with grilled pork or other meat.

Makes 3/4 cup.

Each 1-tablespoon serving contains about:

44 calories; 2 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.19 gram fiber.

CARAMEL-LIME MUSTARD

This mustard goes especially well with grilled chicken.

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons prepared whole-seed mustard

Juice of 2 limes

1/2 to 1 serrano chile, minced, optional

Cook sugar in small skillet over medium heat until melted, stirring with wooden spoon to break up lumps. When melted sugar turns brown with faint reddish tinge, remove from heat and stir in water. Return to heat and stir until caramel is completely dissolved in water. Remove from heat and cool.

Add mustard, lime juice and serrano.

Makes 1/2 cup.

Each 1-tablespoon serving contains about:

37 calories; 60 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 9 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0 fiber.

OLIVE BREAD

Sometimes it's fun to make a side dish the most flavorful part of a meal, shifting the focus from the meat or fish that's being grilled. This bread from Test Kitchen cook Mayi Brady is both crunchy and chewy, salty and slightly sweet since it's made from packaged frozen bread dough. It's not for the timid--the flavors are quite strong--yet would complement a simple grilled chicken breast or fish fillet. If ricotta salata (a hard, Parmesan-like version of ricotta cheese) is too salty, you can substitute a milder goat cheese.

1 (1-pound) loaf frozen bread dough, thawed

2 tablespoons cornmeal

3/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup thinly sliced sage leaves

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons shaved ricotta salata or goat cheese

Cut thawed bread dough in half. Roll or stretch dough into 2 rectangles that measure about 12-x-9 inches each. Place on 2 baking sheets that have been sprinkled with 1 tablespoon cornmeal each.

Sprinkle each half with olives, Parmesan, garlic and sage. Bake at 450 degrees until bread is golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

As bread bakes, toast walnut pieces in small saucepan with butter and salt.

When bread is done, top with walnut pieces and ricotta salata.

Makes 2 large breads, about 8 to 10 servings.

Each of 8 servings contains about:

271 calories; 758 mg sodium; 8 mg cholesterol; 40 grams fat; 33 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 0.79 gram fiber.

GRILLED HERBED POTATOES

One of the best things about grilling your side dishes, apart from the wonderful flavors, is the lack of pots and pans to clean up. These potato wedges are a family favorite in Test Kitchen cook Mayi Brady's household. Slightly charred, crisp and garlicky on the outside, the potatoes are moist and tender on the inside. They're perfect with a grilled steak or chop and a green salad. Bye-bye dishpan hands.

4 large red boiling potatoes, about 2 pounds

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Slice each potato into 8 wedges. Combine olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add potato wedges and toss to coat evenly.

Cook potatoes on hot grill until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Toss cooked potatoes with grated cheese and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

192 calories; 281 mg sodium; 3 mg cholesterol; 8 grams fat; 26 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.65 gram fiber.

SHREDDED CUCUMBER AND GARLIC IN SOUR CREAM

This is a favorite family recipe of Ildiko Kalu from Agoura Hills. The cucumbers, along with the sour cream, mellow out the huge amount of garlic, but it's still hot with garlic and a great accompaniment for barbecued meats. The secret of the recipe is to pour off half the cucumber juice so the sour cream sauce is not too thin yet there is enough juice left to flavor the sauce. A light sprinkling of paprika is all that's needed for garnish.

2 pounds (about 3 large) cucumbers, peeled

3 tablespoons sliced garlic cloves

2 teaspoons salt

1 (16-ounce) carton sour cream

Hungarian sweet paprika

Shred cucumbers on medium shredder into glass bowl. Stir in garlic and salt. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Pour off 1/2 juice from cucumbers. (Do not squeeze cucumbers.) Stir in sour cream. Taste and add additional salt, if necessary.

Serve in bowls and sprinkle with paprika.

Makes 8 servings.

Each serving contains about:

141 calories; 623 mg sodium; 25 mg cholesterol; 12 grams fat; 7 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0.74 gram fiber.

SWEET POTATO AND APPLE SALAD

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